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Small Business Assistance

To encourage the creation and viability of small businesses in Prince Edward Island, Small Business Assistance supports activities that increase productivity and competitiveness.  The program supports eligible costs related to internal planning and processes.  A new business is eligible for support for marketing and promotion activities.

Who is eligible for Small Business Assistance?

To be an eligible applicant, a business must be located in Prince Edward Island and:

  • be registered to do business in Prince Edward Island (business registration may not be required for business planning support); 
  • actively operating on PEI; and
  • is the primary source of income for the applicant or employs at least one employee (minimum of 560 hours).

Ineligible applicants include:

  • a business that has a defaulted outstanding debt obligation on file in the Province’s Central Default Registry; 
  • fishers, farmers, and realty companies (including commercial/residential landlords and developers); and 
  • banks and financial companies, including pawnbrokers, pay day loan, cheque cashing and white label cash machines. 

What activities and costs are supported?

An eligible small business can access support for eligible costs related to:

  • Professional fees, to a maximum of $2,500 in eligible costs, for a business plan or market research. 
  • Professional fees, to a maximum of $5,000 in eligible costs, for projects related to operational efficiencies, internal planning or processes, and quality assurance.
  • Examples of eligible projects include (this list is representative, not exhaustive):
    • plan to integrate tools for communications, transactions, operations, and management, such as IT, project management, and systems integration services and solutions;
    • a Human Resource plan and the creation of policies and procedures for ongoing implementation; or
    • work flow studies, production and/or logistics planning.

To be considered a new small business, a business must apply within the first twelve months of operation, as indicated by the date of the initial business registration.  An eligible new small business can access one-time support for additional eligible project costs related to:

  • Marketing and promotion costs, to a maximum of $5,000 in eligible costs, including signage, ad placement, or creation of advertising, branding or promotional materials.

The purchase of capital equipment is excluded; support may be available through the Small Business Investment Grant (SBIG).   

What level of assistance is available?

Small Business Assistance may provide financial assistance of:

  • 50 per cent of eligible costs;
  • to a maximum contribution of $4,000 over a 24 month period; and
  • subject to the maximum eligible costs for specific activities, as specified in the “What activities and costs are supported” section.

The combined project funding from all non-repayable government sources cannot exceed 75 per cent of eligible costs.

What criteria are used to evaluate funding applications? 

Eligible businesses that submit complete applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis.  An application is considered to be complete and received when all required information has been submitted to Innovation PEI.   

Not all projects meeting the minimum criteria will receive funding.  Applications will also be evaluated using the following considerations:  

  • level of assistance from other government programs offered or available; and
  • availability of program funds.

The project must provide economic benefit to the province of Prince Edward Island. 

Performance Monitoring

Innovation PEI requires acceptance of the full terms and conditions of the assistance at the time of application.  The accepted terms and conditions, application, request for payment, and guidelines shall constitute a contract between Innovation PEI and the applicant(s).

How do I apply?

Innovation PEI encourages potential applicants to consult with an Innovation PEI Business Development Officer for guidance on suitability of the project, other program offerings, and the application process. If the project is not a good candidate for Small Business Assistance, the Business Development Officer may recommend alternative funding programs. 

Once ready, an applicant can apply:

  • online;  
  • a printable application form is available by request; and
  • hardcopy applications may be submitted by mail or fax.

An application must be submitted before any financial or legal commitment is made on the project.

What do I need to apply?

To complete the application, be prepared to provide detailed business information and supporting documentation:

  • business registration number and date of incorporation (if applicable);
  • description of the business operations; 
  • business information;
  • detailed information on the estimated costs of the proposed project (cost estimates should be supported by written quotations);
  • detailed description of the project and how it will benefit the business; and
  • if the application concerns a study, please provide the consultant’s proposal(s) and the study’s terms of reference (costs should be supported by written quotations).
*This information is provided for information purposes and is not comprehensive or reflective of all Innovation PEI policies.  Not all projects meeting the minimum assistance criteria outlined will receive funding. Please consult with an Innovation PEI Business Development Officer for guidance specific to the business's situation. 

What are the terms and conditions of the application?

View the full terms and conditions

Innovation PEI

General Inquiries

Innovation PEI
94 Euston Street
PO Box 910
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7L9

Phone: 902-368-6300
Toll-free (North America): 1-800-563-3734
Fax: 902-368-6301

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innovation@gov.pe.ca